Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top 5 Myths about High Blood Pressure

We have heard it all before, "high blood pressure causes heart disease." The guidelines and treatments for high blood pressure (BP) have become so ingrained and commonplace that we take it for granted that it is being treated properly. But, like most health issues today, what we know about blood pressure has changed leaving many cases undiagnosed or under-treated. Here are several facts and myths about blood pressure and its treatment that conscientious health consumers should know.


Myth #1: Normal blood pressure is anything below 140/90 mmHg


The most recent National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines set systolic BP of less than 120mmHg and diastolic BP of less than 80mmHg (i.e. less than 120/80) as normal. This is significantly different than the old standard of 140/90 your doctor may still be using.

Myth #2: If you have high blood pressure, you need prescription drugs to lower it.


There are many non-prescription blood pressure lowering treatments that are equally as powerful as drugs and offer one huge benefit that drugs alone do not. The fact is many natural treatments are equally effective as compared to drugs, especially when used in combination. Some of these natural treatments are:
  • Exercise helps with weight reduction and reduces BP.
  • Be certain to get plenty of sleep - 7 to 8 hours per night.
  • Consider Vitamin D supplementation.

Myth #3: Men are the only ones who need to worry about high blood pressure


Unfortunately, the very opposite. High blood pressure affects men, women and children, young and old.

Myth #4: Salt is the main cause of high blood pressure


While table salt and sodium, found in soup, processed meats and frozen foods, can raise blood pressure, there are many other factors that increase the risk of high blood pressure, including family history, age, obesity and diet, certain diseases, among others.

Myth #5: You will always have physical symptoms of high blood pressure


High blood pressure is a silent disease and can strike without presenting any symptoms whatsoever. This is why everyone is encouraged to get regular check ups, watch their diet and make exercise a priority. A healthy lifestyle is the best defense against high blood pressure and hypertension.